Kickstarter Picks: A ‘Sub’ Culture Inspired by Commuting

Kickstarter Picks: A ‘Sub’ Culture Inspired by Commuting

September 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Kickstarter is a Lower East Side-based startup that helps creative people “crowd-fund” their projects.

MetroFocus regularly highlights local projects that seem to make the best use of this platform and have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the New York area.

For some straphangers, the daily schlep is an ordeal; for others, it’s a source of creative inspiration. All of our featured projects this week fall into the latter category. Have a look below at some of the works-in-progress inspired by our city’s subway system.

Tell Her This

The pitch: When strangers on a train share a brief connection, they have little recourse except to turn to Craigslist’s “missed connections” section for help. “Tell Her This” is a short film that dramatizes an imaginary missed connection.

Filmmaker Gregory Rizzi told MetroFocus said that the story was inspired by his experience with a girl he saw on the train everyday. One day he decided to speak to her, and they eventually became close friends and began commuting together regularly.

“It got me to thinking how wonderful New York is at bringing disparate people together and how these chance meetings can turn into something really great,” said Rizzi in an e-mail. “The film is a romantic depiction of the New York City subway and how even a mundane morning commute can become something special,” he said.


An animated storyboard for “Tell Her This,” a short film about love found, and lost, on public transportation.

Riding the Lines: Culture Etched in Transit

Artist John Raux plans to create portraits of strangers on the New York subway system with an Etch A Sketch. He said the purpose of his project is to help commuters rethink their daily grind. Photo courtesy of John Raux.

The pitch: Kansas City-based artist John Raux wants to create portraits of strangers using the unconventional medium of an Etch A Sketch. “So much of our lives are spent in an in-between space while commuting. I think we need to cultivate a new way of seeing those spaces. It’s silly and playful but I’m pretty serious about it,” Raux said in a telephone interview.

He says he can etch a portrait in 10 to 12 minutes, about the amount of time it takes to get from Midtown to Union Square. Raux said he plans to visit New York for the project around mid-November, so if you find yourself sitting across from a grown man intently focused on an Etch A Sketch, be sure to smile.

The Noise Beneath the Apple: An Art Book of NYC Busking

A mock-up of "The Noise Beneath the Apple" book. The finished product will include black and white photos of 40 street musicians and an audio component. Photo courtesy of Heather Jacks.

The pitch: Music journalist Heather Jacks launched The Noise Beneath the Apple as an e-zine when she was working for a country music blog. She found that her love of street performers, also known as buskers, drew her deeper into their world — the innards of the subway system.

The limited edition photo book Jacks hopes to publish will include black and white photos of 40 street musicians shot by photographer Bryan Close. The book will also include information about “the evolution of busking” and a multimedia component, according to Jacks.